Friday, February 6, 2009

Minimizing the Guest List (and Maximizing the Fun)

One of the biggest issues to come up when planning a child’s birthday party is controlling the number of guests. Between classroom friends, neighbors, family, team sports and Sunday school, the guest list can quickly grow to exorbitant proportions. Although your excited seven year old may have spread the word far and wide, you shouldn’t feel obligated to invite everyone.

At MerryB Events, we find smaller parties are more fun for everyone because each child can be more involved in the activities, shy children don’t get lost in the shuffle and rowdy kids don’t get too rambunctious.

To minimize the guest list, first determine the number of guests that your budget can manage by taking into account the food, games, goodies, etc. you plan to provide (be sure to include adults if you plan on having them stay for the festivities). If budget isn’t a concern, select the number of guests you will be comfortable hosting. A helpful rule of thumb is to invite as many kids as the age of your birthday child. If you decide to sidestep this rule and invite more kids, just be sure you have a well planned out party and plenty of parents to help supervise and manage the games.

Next, discuss the party with the birthday boy during the planning stages. Tell him how many guests are appropriate and let him help determine the guest list, choosing those friends he is especially close with. He’ll be able to tell you who must attend. You may need to add a guest or two, but it’s better to start with a target number in mind. Be sure to include any siblings (your child’s or his friend’s) who will be participating as a guest. Keep in mind, older brothers and sisters make excellent helpers and kid wranglers!

When it’s time to send invitations, be considerate. You won’t be inviting the entire class, so don’t pass out invitations at school (many schools have a policy against this). Mailing (or emailing) invitations prevents hurt feelings and ensures each invitation will arrive at its destination where a responsible adult can make note of the details.

You can still have simple celebrations with friends who didn’t make the cut. Bringing muffins or cupcakes to the class or sports team will help your child feel like all his playmates participated in his celebration. Having friends sing happy birthday is also a nice way for everyone to be involved.

And remember, every parent who’s ever thrown a birthday party understands how hard it is to keep the guest list manageable. So relax and enjoy the party!

No comments: